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September 28, 2017

Toys R Us Is Bankrupt. Have Toys Lost Their Magic?

“Kids these days,” they say. Television viewership is declining, iPads are tethered to their grip, and Toys R Us just filed for bankruptcy. What happened to strolling through aisles of baby dolls, or turning on the TV immediately after school to see the hottest Nerf blaster during commercial breaks? Both the shopping and media consumption landscapes are shifting – and toy manufacturers have to act fast. With the rise of kids’ digital obsession, imagine trying to sell both classic and innovative toys, when the actual purchaser is mom and dad (who likely only found entertainment out of Tonka trucks growing up).

As suave digital marketers, we need to stay ahead of the game to prepare for these sorts of shifts in digital consumption by challenging current media investment – getting in-front of both kids and parents alike. Toys R Us’ bankruptcy doesn’t actually signal lower toy sales – toy sales were up last holiday season – and are expected to increase this year. With our toy-manufacturing client, AMP acted on evolving consumer purchase behavior and kept an eye on developing ad-tech, as consumers became more reliant on e-commerce sites to research, price compare, and purchase toys year-round. AMP’s Media team has transitioned from a purely Paid Search capability to one extending to managing product display ads on retail e-commerce websites.

The reality is that there’s a substantial decline in foot-traffic to stores during the holidays, which is where a lot of shopping inspiration used to take place. Why rely on the perspective of an 18-year-old sales clerk, when you can read 25+ reviews across any retail site at your fingertips? To capitalize on the growing reliance on e-commerce sites, we partnered with Criteo and Amazon Marketing Services to push inventory for specific products and gain visibility on retail sites throughout the consumer’s online journey. Best of all, we’re then able to analyze and attribute data at the product level, and pinpoint trends in both research and purchase behavior.

Through these e-Commerce vessels, we’ve been able think fast for toys and games seeing the most success with real-time data – proactively shifting investment throughout the holidays to result in the strongest return during the most competitive season. Due to the success of this investment, budget has doubled YoY and driven over $30M in Sales last holiday season. This kind of success doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a constantly evolving test and learn process. We’ve conquested viral trends (think fidget spinners), tested any and every beta to get our client(s) first to market, and cranked up investment during Thanksgiving week resulting in 70% more Sales YoY.

Although it seems like toy retail giants are struggling and 5-year-olds will one day digitally outsmart you, one thing remains the same: the magic of toys will always be in demand.

 

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